Catching up with ...

By Peggy Bolstetter | Spring 2011

Since it's the time of year for commencement ceremonies, we decided to catch up with College of Business valedictorians and MBAA presidents.

George V. Cleveland (MBA ’09)

To the Class of 2011:
“Congratulations on a wonderful accomplishment! Be proud of the fact that as alumni of Notre Dame, you are part of something special: the Notre Dame family. With that, however, comes the responsibility for each of you to do your part to maintain the traditions that bind us, be it supporting your local alumni network or helping answer questions from potential students.”

Cleveland is a senior financial specialist for Intel with responsibility for helping to provide financial oversight and identify cost-reduction opportunities for the company’s recently announced domestic high-volume manufacturing expansions in Arizona. Cleveland says his MBA experience provided him with excellent tools to perform the everyday analyses needed in his job, but he credits the skills he learned in Prof. Viva Bartkus’ Problem Solving class with differentiating him from his colleagues.

As for the best advice he received while at Notre Dame: “The program administrators emphasized to us that Notre Dame really is a family and that this doesn’t end at graduation. Never losing touch with my classmates, professors, administrators and other alumni has enriched my post-graduate years and allowed me to positively influence the lives of others,” says Cleveland.

Mark Holloway (MBA ’98, MA-Theology ’03)

To the Class of 2011:
“Be passionate about your vocation, not just looking for the highest salary, best rewards or fanciest title. Notre Dame is about community, service and excellence. Being the best at whatever you pursue is a gift to yourself, the community and to God. And give back to others in greater supply than you received.”

Holloway is the executive director of Social Venture Partners Portland (, a “venture philanthropy” foundation, which is based on a venture-capital investment model. The organization gathers the resources, brainpower and connections of its partners and selects “the most promising nonprofit efforts in our community, surrounds them with support and makes them better organizations and servants to the community,” says Holloway.

In providing a solid foundation for his future, he says, “the take-charge overhaul of the MBA program that my classmates and I initiated … provided great experience, common purpose and success for me to build upon since and set in motion (with enthusiastic B-school administrators) the excellence the program is experiencing today.”

Nicholas Giampietro (BBA ACCT ’84)

To the Class of 2011:
“Twenty-seven years later, I have the same advice that I included in my valedictory speech: “Follow your heart. Stay true to yourself. Also, maintain your integrity. Once lost, it is a difficult road to regain it. Finally, pray. Then pray some more. Don’t sweat the details but think of God’s and life’s big picture.”

Giampietro is senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Reyes Holdings, LLC. Reyes Holdings distributes beer and food products throughout North, Central and South America as well as Ireland. Notre Dame prepared him for his career in many ways, but chief among them was the way the University instilled an ethical grounding—a true sense of right and wrong. “Notre Dame helped deepen the practice of treating everyone with respect and understanding,” he says. “Not because it is a stepping stone for achieving some goal, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

As for the best advice he received as a student? “Don’t take yourself too seriously!”

Timothy Dolezal (BBA Finance and Business Economics ’02)

To the Class of 2011:
“At the end of our lives, we will come face to face with our Creator. On that day, he isn’t going to ask us how high our GPA was or how many awards we won at graduation. He is going to ask us two very simple questions: First, do you love me? And, second, what do you do for my people? If we devote all of our energy to answering those two questions, we will have lived our Notre Dame experience to its fullest potential.”

Dolezal is the investment director for the University of Notre Dame’s Private Equity program, which includes fund investments in venture capital, growth equity, control distressed, and leveraged buyouts in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. He is responsible for overall management of the asset class including strategy development, implementation and management. He credits the Applied Investment Management (AIM) program and the mentorship of Scott Malpass and Mike Donovan for developing his “true passion” for endowment management. His involvement with campus ministry taught him the importance of maintaining a balanced life.

“Scott Malpass encouraged me to look beyond finding a job, and instead seek out my calling,” he says. “Scott’s advice turned out to be exactly right. What you are actually doing professionally is essential, but who you are doing it with, and ultimately, who you are doing it for are at least equally important,” he said.

 Anthony Thomas (BBA ACCT ’83)

To the Class of 2011:
“Have confidence in yourselves, work hard at whatever you choose to do, and never be afraid to do the right thing.”

Thomas is currently vice president of business operation, for Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America. The lesson he took from Notre Dame was the importance of planning ahead to ensure success in each of the multiple tasks that are on his plate.

The best advice he received while at Notre Dame came from his dad: “I was about to interview for a job I really wanted. My father told me to make sure I ended the interview by stating clearly how much I wanted the job. He explained that in his years of experience as a hiring manager, if he had two candidates who were both qualified, he always hired the one who showed the most desire for the job. I will never forget his exact words, ‘Don’t forget to ask for the job!’”

Corey Weber (MBA ’01)

To the Class of 2011:
“Enjoy your time at ND. You’ll really miss the campus and friends when you graduate. When you start working after b-school, make yourself indispensible.”

Weber is a partner at Ezra Brutzkus Gubner LLP, a boutique law firm in Woodland Hills, Calif., specializing in corporate bankruptcy law and litigation, and business and commercial litigation.

Hanging out with his classmates was the best part of being at Notre Dame, he says. “Working together toward a common goal, working together to present arguments effectively and figuring out ways to collectively solve problems, and making friends while doing so, is what business is all about. Not surprisingly, these same skills are what often lead to successfully litigating and settling complex cases in bankruptcy court or state court,” he says. 

 Dag Brummett (MBA ’10)

To the Class of 2011:
“Live each moment in your life to the ideals of being the best person you can be. After awhile, you will be able to look back and be proud of the life you have made.”

Brummett has partnered with ND classmate Maura Carter (MNA ’11) to establish a summer camp in Charlotte, N.C. The goal of Math Off the Books is to increase positive attitudes toward math by creating a fun atmosphere using sports, art, and other themes. The venture is an extension of the volunteer work he did with School Inc. while at Notre Dame. He’s also exploring the idea of opening a restaurant.

The words of advice that have served him well: “Patience. Sometimes the best advice in life is the simplest. When life does not move at the speed you wish, having patience helps minimize setbacks and brings hope to the future.”

 Jason Kellman (MBA ’04)

To the Class of 2011:
“Be the one who volunteers to travel. The more places you visit and people you meet, the better your perspectives will be.”

Kellman is the chief investment officer and a managing partner of Pinnacle Asset Management, L.P. His primary responsibilities include directing portfolio management and manager selection for Pinnacle’s funds of funds. Kellman sits on Pinnacle’s investment committee. The Notre Dame experiences that most contributed to his career preparation were being part of student government and his Corporate Communications classes.

Management Professor James O’Rourke IV gave him the piece of advice that has served him best: “Never be the one who leaves an event early. You’ll likely miss something important.”

Joshua Hammack (BBA ACCT ’08)

To the Class of 2011:
“Hold fast to the things you learned and the people you met here. It’s important to remain practical and realistic, but it is always the ones who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world who end up doing it. Continue to serve. Even if you are not committing to an entire year of service, it’s important to take some time and serve others in your community. You learn things by serving others that you don’t really experience anywhere else.”

Following graduation Hammack spent a year with AmeriCorps in Baltimore. He served as the college-access counselor for the Baltimore Urban Debate League and worked to prepare high school students from about 30 inner-city high schools for college. Hammack is currently in his second year of law school at Notre Dame and the assistant rector for Zahm Hall.

“The way Notre Dame taught me to think about problems and look for solutions has served me best since graduation,” Hammack says. “Notre Dame didn’t just give me access to right answers; it taught me how to approach a complicated problem, analyze competing solutions, and select the best one based on multiple factors—ethics, impact on others, efficiency, cost.”

And the best advice he received as a student: “Keep in touch with as many of your friends as you can. It’s easy get “too busy” and to forget to take the time … these friendships are special; work to keep them.”